@CousinJack: re. the importance of 'growing your own' players; I couldn't agree more! That is exactly the approach taken by the band I play with (in the Juniors, despite being an old codger!). At every concert, our MD plugs the training available, and that the band has a stock of loan instruments. At several concerts per year, the Junior band plays three pieces during the Main band's intermission, and the MD points out how many of the top players in the Main band started with the Juniors. In fact, the first time I saw the band play (with about thirty four players on stage), the MD said that all bar five of them started in the Juniors and worked their way up. As the Main band is now in the first section, the gap between the Juniors and Main band is considerable, so there are now two intermediate development groups (higher and lower; those in the higher dev. group all now play in the Main band). As well as forming stepping stones between Juniors and Main, they also give the MD the time and space to go through all the required skills and knowledge required to move up into the main band, and the time to continue their in-depth coaching so that, for example, they don't get to play 3rd cornet, and still find themselves on 3rd cornet five years later, because they don't have the skill to move up a slot. He can do that far more effectively away from a Main band rehearsal. With the numbers of learners we have coming through now, the tutoring we get from players in the main band, and the support from the main band when we reach a point of sitting in on main band rehearsals, it's quite reasonable to suppose that in the next few years we may have enough intermediate players of a sufficently good standard to do concerts in their own right - and possibly start contesting, too. But it has to be said that it's largely down to the hard work, support and persistance of the MD and his team of tutors, players in the main band, and the solid support of the committee - and, like Porthleven Town and Helston Town, it's not because there isn't another band for miles around. On the contrary; there are well over a dozen within 20 miles. I've been sitting at the back, listening and taking notes whilst the Main band has been working up 'Festival of Marches', and I have to agree with comments posted earlier - i.e., that it's not as simple a piece as it might appear at a quick listen. Bearing in mind my novice status, my impression of it is that it's the sort of piece which is not too hard for a decent band to play, as such - but quite tricky to play really well. I'll be going along to Bedworth on Saturday, to root for our band - and having listened to them working on this piece for several months, it will be very interesting to compare how other bands play it. But good luck to you all!